Key to a Good Choice is Understanding How Dental Implants Work
It’s easy to see why replacing a missing tooth is important for cosmetic and health reasons. A missing tooth, even a back tooth, can negatively affect your appearance by diminishing your smile or changing the shape of your face as well as potentially affecting your speech and ability to chew. But it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons of your options – dental bridges, partial dentures and dental implants – before settling on what is right for you.
Bridges and partial dentures are good options for patients who, for health reasons, cannot undergo the oral surgery needed for dental implants. But for patients who can undergo surgery and who want a lasting, cosmetically appealing option that maintains jawbone density, dental implants are the obvious choice.
Dental implants are titanium posts that are placed surgically into the jaw and act as solid anchors onto which your dentist affixes replacement teeth. Titanium is a strong, lightweight metal that the human body readily accepts.
Aside from the fact that implants are the closest option to natural teeth, they can last for many years or even decades, do not involve nearby teeth and help prevent bone loss. That’s because the body quickly reacts to missing teeth by re-absorbing the bone where the root had been. Dental implants, on the other hand, mimic the action of real teeth, putting stress on surrounding bone and causing it to remain robust.
Bridges don’t do anything to stop the bone loss associated with missing teeth and, in fact, have a negative impact on the teeth around them. In order for a bridge to work, the dentist must grind down surrounding teeth to support the bridge. Removable dentures come with their own disadvantages. They are less stable than other options, can be uncomfortable and must be replaced more frequently.
That said, not all implants are created equal. At Downtown Dental Associates of Portland, we are committed to using the best possible practices when it comes to providing dental implants. That’s why we never offer implants in one visit. Healing and bone growth are key to successful implants, so we allow the time for the patient to heal after the native tooth is removed as well as after the titanium rod is surgically implanted. This healing time allows the bone to grow around the rod, which is precisely what makes an implant such a strong and lasting option.
If you are considering dental implants or any other options for replacing missing teeth, call us to schedule a consultation so we can review them with you and help you settle on the one that’s best for you.